15/10/19 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Independent New Cross businesses to be excluded from demolition ballot that will decide their future
17 New Cross businesses and shops facing demolition by the council won’t get a vote in the ballot that will decide their fate and weren’t even told it was happening.
The ballot on the 18 October will ask residents of the area whether they are in favour of Lewisham Council’s plans to demolish the existing 87 homes and 17 businesses to make way for a new housing development in the Achilles Street area.
The 17 independent businesses, one of which has been open for 50 years, are all located along the New Cross road.
Despite the council announcing its plans in May 2016, businesses and shops say they’ve had little or no communication from the council about the proposed development. Instead, they’ve have received updates about the council’s plans from other affeceted residents.
Angelo, Director of the New Cross Launderette, said: “I’ve heard nothing from the council since 2016. We’re the oldest business in the area. I feel I must have the right to vote in the redevelopment plans.”
Another business owner says he wasn’t even informed about the development even when he purchased a seven year lease from Lewisham Council 18 months ago.
Ali Akpinar, owner of Mez Mangal restaurant says: “I’ve put £200,000 into my business and I’ve still got five and a half years left on my lease. I’ve heard nothing from the council and it has put me under lots of stress. If this goes ahead I could be at risk of homelessness.”
Martin Williams, affected resident and campaigner, said: “The local businesses and shops are a big part of this area and community. They’ve been kept in the dark from the outset. Lewisham Council are playing fast and loose with peoples jobs, livelihoods and homes.”
This comes after FOI requests have revealed that the council have spent thousands of pounds of public money trying to convince residents to vote for demolition.
Martin added: “By the way the businesses have been treated it’s clear that if you don’t have a vote you don’t matter to the council.”
Notes to editors
- On 18 October residents will be asked to vote on the Achilles Street Landlord Offer for an Estate Regeneration Ballot.
- The FOI request mentioned relates to the £52,000 Lewisham Council spent on on the refurbishment of a tenant hall for the purpose of “resident engagement”. The hall had previously been closed for 14 years. It also refers to the near £31,000 spent on the services of the PR and branding company Studio Raw. The company used the refurbished tenant hall from mid-June to speak to residents, along with council officers, about what they’d like to see in a landlord offer. FOI can be found here.
- The Achilles Street area – is a low density housing estate, which runs along either side of Achilles Street between Clifton Rise and Pagnell Street . It also includes the flats and the flats, maisonettes and businesses along the New Cross Road between Clifton Rise and Pagnell Street (excluding the Venue and the old bank building)
- The Achilles Street Stop and Listen Campaign is a group of residents who are opposed to the development and have repeatedly called for alternative options to improve the area to be put forward. More info on the campaign here: website and twitter
- Another related press release: ‘Serious concerns raised by residents over Lewisham Council demolition ballot’ can be found here.
- For further information please call Jacquie Utley on 07906206166 or email firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
- Images are available upon request.